Sunday, February 25, 2024

Department of Labor hammers company over H-2B visas

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Gasparilla Inn & Club recently completed payment of the back wages and fines after entering into a consent agreement before the Office of Administrative Law Judges in November 2022. The resolution ends the division investigation, and Gasparilla Inn & Club has been ordered to comply with program requirements.

The H-2B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows employers in the United States to hire foreign workers for temporary, non-agricultural jobs. These jobs typically include seasonal or peak-load work such as landscaping, construction, hospitality, and other similar industries. To qualify for an H-2B visa, the employer must demonstrate that there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, and qualified to perform the job, and that the employment of foreign workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. H-2B visas are issued for a period of up to one year and can be extended in certain circumstances.

Wage and Hour District Director Nicolas Ratmiroff in Tampa, Florida, said, “Federal law protects nonimmigrant workers employed under the H-2B program, and Gasparilla Inn & Club violated those requirements. Employers who reap the benefits of the H-2B program are obligated to make sure they understand and comply with program requirements.”

Qualifications for H-2B Classification:

  • Demonstrating that there aren’t enough able, willing, qualified, and available U.S. workers to do the temporary work
  • Ensuring that the employment of H-2B workers will not negatively impact the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers.
  • Proving that the need for the worker’s services is temporary, even if the job’s underlying nature is not temporary.
  • Submitting a valid temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor or the Guam Department of Labor.
  • Meeting one of the four categories for temporary need: one-time occurrence, seasonal need, peak load need, or intermittent need.
  • A cap of 66,000 noncitizens is set for H-2B visas each fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who start working in the first half and the other 33,000 for workers who start working in the second half of the fiscal year.
  • A three-step process that includes submitting a temporary labor certification application to the Department of Labor, submitting Form I-129 to USCIS, and applying for a visa and/or admission if the prospective worker is outside the United States.

Which countries’ citizens can obtain an H-2B visa?

  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • The Kingdom of Eswatini
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Kiribati
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Madagascar
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Mozambique
  • Nauru
  • The Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Romania
  • Saint Lucia
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan*
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste
  • Turkey
  • Tuvalu
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu

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